A lot of people ask do termites fly? And the answer is yes. There are flying termites, and theyre just as destructive as their grounded counterparts. Whats really interesting is that these flying pests look a lot like flying ants, and many people think that they have flying ants which are far less of a problem than flying termites.
Before we discuss how to get rid of flying termites, were going to talk more about these winged termites.
Many types oftermiteswith wingsare there but usually their average size tends to be in the range of 1/4th to 3/8th of an inch. While the general worker termite is light colored, a flying termite can be light, black, beige/tan or dark brown colored, depending on the species. The dark color of a termite helps it to retain the moisture in its body and helps it to leave its nest more freely. There are four wings in two sets on either side for a flight. It has a veiny appearance and is translucent and white in color. The two antennas are straight with a slight curve at the end. Unlike other insect species, their body does not have a clear-cut difference between the thorax and abdomen. It has a thick body that is made up of a single part. In this aspect, both wingless and flying termites have the same body construction.A winged termite can be the queen or king of a colony. It can also be a swarmer that is capable of starting a new colony. Whereas soldier, worker or secondary reproductive termites are generally blind, a flying termite can have poor eyesight. When a colony of termite swarms, then only these can be visible. Among other things, warm and humid climate with heavy rainfall can help in the formation of swarms. Swarms are also created when male and female winged termites from established colonies mate together. When mating is over, the fertilized termites lose their wings and go ahead in creating newer colonies. Therefore, if a person notices a flying termite, it can be a clear indication of the presence of a mature colony somewhere nearby.Termites with wingsare very similar to winged ants and can be easily mistaken if certain differences are not recognized properly. Although appearance-wise, there are certain differences that can be readily noticed. Termites have straight-sided waist whereas ants have a more compressed one. All the four wings of termites are equal in size. The termite antennae are straight whereas an ant antenna can be bent at 90-degrees. These are some of the differentiators between the two species of insects.
Termites are around the same size as ants, and to the untrained eye, it would be difficult to distinguish between the two. Were going to talk about a few of the main components to look at to fully understand what youre dealing with:
Termite swarmers are just 1/4 of an inch in length, so its very difficult to get a good look at them.
Can Termites Fly into our House?
The overwhelming answer that has been received quite often is that Yes, they can fly but not all of them are capable of it. Actually, termites are not classified in winged insects category like mosquitoes and wasps. Rather, they are able to fly only for a short duration of time before they shed their wings forever.A termite colony is distinctly divided into groups that are better known as castes. Each caste has a typical role to be performed in the colony. The distinct castes of termite include workers, soldiers and alates. Among these three, alates are the ones equipped with wings and they are able to fly. They are the only termites that are sexually developed and goes on to become the kings and queens of future colonies. Termite habits and flying patterns are further known as swarms.Termite swarms are indicative of a termite calendar. They can be spotted during a particular period of time in each year. This time can depend upon geographical conditions and upon each species. Seasons also play a very vital role in the determination of termite calendar.However, having said this, it is also important to mention here that a well-maintained home may not be the best place for their stay. A property having proper drainage, ventilation and storage can be a good way of deterring any termite build-up. Moreover, an annual inspection by a recognized termite professional to ascertain whether a property is free of termites can be the best way to ensure that a place is free of termite infestation.
During the favorable seasons when these insects come out, the alates usually fly and try to mate in the air. At this point in time, they can be physically spotted or their shredded wings can also be noticed. These are good ways of understanding their presence. Moreover, at the back of the house, if they are seen in droves, then that can be a sure shot way of knowing that they are present in a home.Termites are an international menace as they are virtually present all around the globe. In the US alone, termite induced property damage stands to the tune of $5 billion each year and this figure can be quite substantive! Therefore, protecting a property from visible termite signs can be one of the best ways of keeping ones family safe and also a good way of saving money.Termites that reside in a property can cause damages to the tune of thousands of dollars. Moreover, any type of termite induced damage is not covered by most homeowners insurance.Therefore, it becomes important to search for any termite damage sign in a home on a regular basis so that it can be kept under check. Moreover, having a termite protection plan through a pest deterrent company can be helpful as termite inspection schedules can be expected to be carried out by them each year. This can be a wonderful way of ensuring that there is no termite damage happening within a property.However, there are certain signs that can be inspected easily by a person who may be interested to keep termite infestation in check. A few of these signs are discussed below.
People who want an answer to the query can termites fly into your house? may be satisfied by this point. Blisters or areas within a wooden flooring can indicate the presence of termite below the surface. This also indicates that termites stay deep inside wooden surfaces and it is not as if they make their home within a day by flying in. It is mainly done by subterranean termites that can damage a subfloor considerably making it look as if the floor has been damaged due to water.
There can be a lot of wood damage and wood particles may be strewn all around below and beneath surfaces like the floor, walls, etc. It can all be a result of termites that chew through wood making long hollow cavity within the wood. Actually, it is their search for cellulose in wood due to which this type of operation is conducted by them. Over a period of time, this type of cavities may weaken the wood and can also be responsible for any major damage to the structure itself.
As earlier discussed, broken termite wings can be a good way of establishing their presence nearby. These wings can be expected at any access point to a property including doors, windows, etc. Winged termites generally take a flight for mating and once they have mated, they come back to the ground. Upon landing, they intentionally twist their wings so that they can be broken off because they know that they wont need them ever again. All termite wings are of the same size and that can be a good way of establishing their presence within a property.
There can be many types of mud tubes that can be of the size of a pencil. These may be present near to any termite food source like a shed or tree. Additionally, it can also be near to a place where the ground surface meets the house. It is due to the fact that subterranean termites usually live underground and make their way up in search of any wooden structure so that they can gorge on it. This type of wooden structure can usually be a property or a house and therefore it must be preserved. The pencil-sized tubes made by them can be helpful in stopping the dry, cool air so that they can make an environment where they can live very easily.
Drywood termites are nonflying termitesthat live inside the wood. When they infest a wood, they slowly eat through it leading to the formation of a tunnel. This further leads to the formation of galleries that is maintained in a clean way by them. The cleanliness of these galleries is maintained by creating small holes through which they try to pass out their excrement. Now, since these dry wood termites consume wood, the excrement is also in the form of wood. This literally leads to the creation of heaps of pellets. These heaps of pellets may look like coffee grounds or sawdust and can be a good indicator of dry wood termites.However, it is not that without displaying any of these signs, they are not present in a property. In fact, they can still be present without showing any of these mentioned indicators. They can be there in a property and may remain hidden for a long time. When damage is ultimately found out, a substantial loss may already have been inflicted by them. Therefore, a proactive approach is very much needed to deal with a termite problem and any sign of this insect should be taken seriously.
Both ants and termites can swarm, and they both have similar appearances. Its important to be able to know the differences between these two swarmers so that you know which type of insect youre dealing with.
Termite swarmers need to be dealt with differently than flying ants.
We already discussed what flying termites look like. Heres what flying ants look like:
With these points in mind, you should be able to tell the difference between a flying termite and a flying ant.
Termites arent trying to be a burden, but they swarm because its time for them to create a new colony. This is when youll start to notice them near your home. And there are certain seasons when termites will swarm. We can call this the mating season.
How long do flying termites live? Longer than you probably expect. In fact, the Smithsonian calls the Queen of Termites the longest-lived insects. King and queen termites can settle down into their chambers and live ten years or more.
For the most part, a flying termite swarm can be witnessed when the weather begins to get warmer. Climates where there is a distinct winter with cold weather can consider the spring and (to some extent) the summer as the season when termites will swarm.
In most cases, barring a cold spring, the termites will come out after a good rain storm.
Swarms are a group of termites that are working together to be able to find their own colony. Its important to note that not all species of termites will swarm at the same time. But all species will swarm when the weather is warm.
So, if its the middle of winter and you think youve seen a termite swarm, it is highly unlikely that youre actually dealing with termites.
Subterranean termites, for example, wont swarm until theyre about three years in age. Winged termites indicate that the termite will swarm and is looking for a colony. What happens is that the swarmers will grow wings to be able to fly to their new colony where theyll find a mate and reproduce.
Following a successful mating, the wings of the termite will fall off.
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All of the females that mate in these partnerships will be considered the queen of her own colony. She will give birth to worker termites that will develop into soldiers in some cases, which will act to protect the queen and anyone in their colony.
Its like the growth of the Middle Ages.
And the queen is your main target. One queen can lay a million eggs in her lifetime.
Termites, like most insects, love light. This light will attract them and electrocute them if its a bug zapper. Obviously, this only works if the flying termites are outside of the home, but its a method that is recommended by professional exterminators.
You can use a fly swatter to kill them yourself, but this is far more practical.
The key is to shut off as many lights in your home as possible and try to remove your outside light, too. If there are multiple light sources, it will reduce the chances of successfully zapping these pests to death.
You can buy bug zappers online and in Home Depot or a hardware store.
Orange oil is such a good termite killer that it is highly recommended by professionals. The reason that this spray works so well is that there is a compound in the spray which will kill the termite. This compound is what gives oranges and citrus fruits their vibrant smells.
Want to skip the research work and get a quick solution for your home?
What youll need to do is the following:
Now, youll want to spray any termites you see as well as any areas where you see termite activity. If you know that termites have already lost their wings and are taking up space in your home, youll be able to spray these highly trafficked areas with orange oil.
Many people will also apply this oil to furniture, and even drill holes in the wall where they know termites are active and pour the orange oil into the holes.
Termites dont fly for long, and if they have wings, you need to hope that they dont decide that your home will be their colony. But there is only so much that you can do to ensure that termites wont take up residence in your home.
Since these pests are drawn to wood, you can do a lot of different things outside of the home to curb the risk of them making your home as their own:
Nematodes can also be introduced outside, which will eat termites. Nematodes will be able to eat through an entire colony of termites in no time at all. This will exterminate the entire colony.
If you notice wings on the windowsill or on the floor, this means that the termites did mate and theyve likely picked your home to make a colony. The best course of action this early on is to call in a professional to kill the new colony before they cause any major damage.
You can create an inexpensive, effective termite trap using a material that you probably have in your home already: cardboard.
The next time you have a package delivered to your home, save the box and use it to fight back against termites.
You see, termites love cellulose. Its a compound found in wood, but its also found in cardboard. Placing sheets of wet cardboard in infested areas will attract the termites.
Once the termites start eating the cardboard, you can decide how you want to exterminate them. Most people choose to spray the cardboard with an insecticide or natural bug killer.
Others choose to torch the cardboard. Setting the cardboard on fire will definitely kill the termites, but this is also a dangerous method that we dont recommend. You can easily injure yourself or cause a fire in the process.
We recommend spraying the cardboard using an insecticide or a natural bug killer. Be sure to follow the directions on commercial insecticide products.
Boric acid is an effective insect killer, and you can find it online or in most big-box stores. Its generally non-toxic, and its effective at killing most insects, including termites.
Boric acid works by coating the bug and dehydrating it. The dehydration damages the insects nervous system and kills it.
Boric acid comes in powder form, and it can be applied either indoors or outdoors. You can sprinkle the powder along the perimeter of your home, but you can also place it along windows, doors, entryways and other areas where you see flying termites.
While generally safe, its best to keep kids and pets away from the boric acid. And if youre applying the powder outdoors, make sure that you reapply it daily or every few days, especially if theres a rainstorm.
Once youve taken steps to eliminate flying termites, you want to make sure that they never return. How can you do this? Prevention.
As the experts say: the best removal method is prevention.
Preventing termites from entering your home is the key most important thing, and you can do this by through a method called trenching.
Trenching is the practice of applying a termiticide along the perimeter of your home, typically along the foundation. If termites attempt to cross the barrier you create, they will die and spread the insecticide to their colony.
Trenching isnt as easy as spraying a product and calling it a day. You need to use shovels to dig literal trenches along the perimeter of your home. Once youve done this, you can apply a termiticide that will give you protection for up to five years.
If youre concerned about applying a chemical pesticide, you may want to call in a professional to do the job for you.
Keep in mind that if youre seeing termite swarmers, theres a very good chance that you already have a thriving colony of these pests near your home. Youll want to tackle this infestation before you start implementing preventative measures. If you dont get rid of the initial infestation, youll be fighting a constant uphill battle with these insects.
Along with trenching, you also want to take other natural approaches to prevent termite infestations.
For starters, you should correct moisture issues, including drainage concerns, leaks and excess condensation. Check your heating and cooling units to look for condensation issues. This is a common place area for this problem, and it can help attract termites to the area.
The next step is to remove extraneous wood from your yard. We touched on this earlier, but its really important to remove tree stumps, fallen trees, leaf debris and other materials that termites love. We also recommend that you avoid using wood mulch in your yard. Wood mulch is another food source for termites, so youre effectively inviting them to dinner.
Make sure that you keep all firewood a fair distance from your home. Never store wood next to your home.
Also, you want to make sure that you never use untreated wood in construction projects, such as decks and sheds.
Termites are a serious pest, and they can cause expensive damage to your home. If youre seeing termite swarmers, its an indication of a more serious problem that you cannot ignore. At this stage, you can take steps to kill the flying termites, but it may be time to call in a professional to tackle the rest of the colony. Otherwise, you may wind up with irreparable damage to your home.
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